Thought for the Day - As written at Prasanthi Nilayam

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September 2005

September 1, 2005

No one can describe the nature of Divine love. It is beyond the reach of even the best of poets. When one is still neck-deep in the water, one may be able to say a few words. The one who is completely immersed in the waters of Divine Love will be unable to speak anything about his experience. Those who speak about God in the world do so only from a superficial experience, but those who are wholly saturated with God's love will find no words to describe their bliss. That is why the Vedas declare that the Divine is beyond the reach of the mind and speech.

September 2, 2005

Some people entertain some newfangled ideas about Yoga (spiritual union), Jnana (spiritual wisdom) and Sanyasa (renunciation). What is true Yoga? Yoga is control of the vagaries of the mind. It is control of the senses. One should treat alike both praise and censure, pleasure and pain. This kind of self-restraint is Yoga. What is Jnana? Advaita Darshanam Jnaanam (The Vision of the One without a second is the supreme knowledge). To recognise the Ekatma-bhaava (the feeling that the same Atma dwells in all beings) is Jnana. True Sanyasa is in the transformation of one's qualities and not in the change of garb. The mind must change, not the apparel. A true Sanyaasi (renunciant) is one who has attained mastery over all his senses and has given up all desires. He is a Sanyaasi who seeks the feet of the Lord, giving up all attachments to the body, which is subject to disease and decay. He must treat life and death, pleasure and pain alike.

September 3, 2005
Health is the essential prerequisite for success in all aspects of life, and for realizing the four ideals that guide human life - moral living, prosperity, fulfilling beneficial desires and liberation from grief. Man seeks to live happily and peacefully, but happiness and peace are not won from worldly activities. The body that yearns to be healthy and secure is subject to disease, decay and death. However, the Indweller, the Self, within the body is not born nor does it die. The body is the temple of God. Hence, it is the duty of man to keep the temple in good condition.

September 4, 2005

Which is the happiest day in one's life? All are happy days to a person of Jnana (true knowledge). Happiness is a conscious internal experience which is an effect of the extinction of all mental and physical desires. The lesser the desires, the greater is the happiness. Therefore, perfect happiness consists in the merger of all desires in the Absolute Being. The mind has no independent identity of its own. It is a conglomeration of the desires that sprout from the impulses. A cloth is essentially a bundle of threads. Threads are basically spun from cotton. Similarly, desires arise from basic impulses, and the mind is constituted of these desires. Just as a piece of cloth disintegrates if threads in it are pulled apart, the mind too can be destroyed by the eradication of desires.

September 5, 2005

Life is an experience meant to train the individual for a higher, deeper and more expanded state of existence through the experience of the results of one's actions. The aim of life is the attainment of complete perfection by merging in the Absolute. It is dedication to the Lord that sanctifies all activities. He is the raison d'etre for all activity; He is the prompter, the executor, the giver of the required strength and skill, and the enjoyer of the fruits thereof. So, dedication must come naturally to you, for, all is His and nothing yours! Your duty is to believe that He is the impeller of your activities, and draw strength from that belief. Just as a bandage is necessary to protect the wound until it heals and new skin grows, so too, until reality is realized, faith, company of the pious and holy thoughts must be applied to the ego-affected mind.

September 6, 2005

Devotion should not be confined to the four walls of the shrine-room, or the few minutes you perform Dhyana (meditation); it is a fulltime Sadhana (spiritual discipline). Your devotion has to be expressed as worship of everyone as living embodiments of Divinity. See God in every one, even in persons whom you regard as your enemies. Practice this broad, all-embracing Love. How can you derive happiness merely by showing love and reverence to a stone idol that does not respond or reflect your feelings? Living beings will return appreciation and gratitude and wish you well. You can see joy glowing in their faces. That will confer satisfaction on you. If you cannot teach yourself to love your fellowmen, how can you follow the path of dedication to God?

September 7, 2005 - Ganesh Chaturthi

An elephant normally has two tusks. The mind too frequently comes up with two alternatives: the good and the bad, the excellent and the expedient, the fact and the fantasy that lures it away. However, in order to achieve anything, the mind must become single-pointed. The elephant head of Lord Ganesha, therefore has one tusk only, and hence Ganesha is called 'Ekadantha' meaning the single-tusked one, to remind everyone that one must possess single-pointedness of the mind.

September 8, 2005

Dharma and Jnana (right conduct and spiritual wisdom) are two eyes given to man to discover his Divinity. Dharma indicates the right path which every individual, group or society should follow. Dharma destroys the one who violates it, and protects the one who protects it. The scriptures have declared, "Where there is Dharma, there is Victory". There is no Dharma greater than Truth. The edifice of Dharma is erected on the foundation of Truth. Nyaya (justice) is an essential attribute of Dharma. An individual, society or nation shines with glory only when justice is adhered to. Just as one acquires wealth by the pursuit of one's profession, one must acquire merit and Divine Grace by adhering to Neethi (morality) and Dharma.

September 9, 2005

Man has made tremendous progress in science and technology. But, in the field of spirituality, he is still unable to rid himself of narrow cynicism, limited outlook, and the demonic hold of selfishness, pride, envy and other evil traits. When we examine the basic cause for this state of affairs, we discover that it is the consequence of egoism that has struck deep roots in the heart of man. It has reduced man to the status of a puppet. It pollutes his thoughts, words and deeds. It directs him to gather and hoard material riches. It does not allow the Atma (Self) to shine forth. When the veil of egoism is set aside, the Atma is revealed, Jnana (wisdom) dawns and Ananda (Bliss) results.

September 10, 2005

We generally consider Pratyaksha Pramaana (proof of direct perception) as the most important type of evidence. We are able to see our body and all its parts; however, our mind is not visible. We are unable to comprehend the Atma (spirit). Anumaana or inference is another form of proof. We see smoke on the top of a distant hill. We infer from the smoke that there must be a fire on that hill. Although we see only the smoke, we infer that there is fire. To infer the existence of the 'unseen' from the presence of what is 'seen' is Anumaana Pramaana (inferential proof). But, these methods of determining facts are applicable only to the external universe. For determining the Divine Principle, we must depend only on the Shabdha Pramaana of the Vedas. We believe in the existence of the Atma on the strength of the statements made by the great sages who have had the experience of it and who have conveyed it through their teachings. When the Divine is described as One without attributes, eternal, pure, free and self-effulgent, this description will not make the Brahman (God) visible to us. It is only when the state of Brahman is realized by us that its existence becomes valid.

September 11, 2005

All subjects in the universe have three characteristics, which are derived from the Divine. These are Asthi, Bhaathi and Priyam. These qualities are also otherwise represented by the terms Sath, Chith and Ananda - Being, Awareness and Bliss. The existence of an object is derived from 'Asthi'. What it is and how it appears to our eyes, is known from 'Bhaathi'. That it is a useful or enjoyable object is derived from the quality of 'Priyam'. While these three are fundamental qualities, the forms and names may change. For instance, a silver plate is capable of being converted to some other article. Silver is fundamental; the value of the article is dependent not on the form or the name of the article, but on the silver in the article.

September 12, 2005

Sathya or Truth is realized by the Sadhana (discipline) of the tongue. Dharma (righteous living) is realized by the Sadhana of the individual through right conduct in relation to the society. Man can attain Shanti (equanimity) by discipline of the mind. Prema (love) is beyond thought, word and deed. To consider it as a manner of speech, an attitude of mind or as physical trait is to demean it. Love is God. God is Love. The Divine Love is not easily comprehensible. Love has no trace of selfishness; it is not led by ulterior motives.

September 13, 2005

Prema (Love) should be like a mariner's compass. Wherever the compass may be placed, the needle will point only to the north. Likewise, man's love, in all circumstances, should be directed towards God. That alone is true love. It should be unaffected by pleasure or pain. It makes no difference between 'mine' and 'thine'. Love has to be acquired only through love and not by any other means whatsoever.

September 14, 2005

The Upanishads declare: "Raso vai Sah" (God is the essence). This means that God is present in subtle form everywhere, like sugar in sugarcane and butter in milk. Although it is difficult to have a direct perception of God, His presence can be experienced in many ways. The sweetness in sugar, the sourness in lime fruit, the bitterness of the margosa leaf, all testify to the presence of the Divine. When you see a mountain, waterfall or forest, you feel happy. All these proclaim the presence of the Divine. Light shines, the stars twinkle, the sun blazes, the planets revolve in their orbits. All these phenomena are manifestations of the Divine. By understanding the nature of flame, you can understand the nature of fire. By examining a drop of water, you come to know the nature of the Ganges. Likewise by understanding Maanavathvam (the true nature of humanness), you can understand Daivathvam (Divinity).

September 15, 2005

The Bhagavad Gita does not intend that you should pluck a leaf or a flower or a fruit from some plant or tree and place it before God. Nor does it ask you to bring water from a well or a river or a roadside tap. The Leaf that you have to offer is your own body, which like the leaf, sprouts green, fades, and finally falls off from the branch. The Flower is the heart freed from the pests of lust, anger, greed, attachment, pride, hate, etc. The Fruit is the mind, the consequence of its yearnings, which have to be dedicated to God. The Water is the stream of tears that flow from the eyes when one is in ecstatic bliss at the contemplation of God's glory. Offering these four is the real act of Sharanaagathi (total surrender).

September 16, 2005

God is the embodiment of Love. Love is His nature. Just as God manifests His love in the world, everyone should manifest his love. Prema (Love) has been described as beyond speech and mind; it is said to be Anirvachaneeyam (indescribable). This love cannot be got through scholarship, wealth, or physical powers. God, who is the embodiment of love, can be attained only through love, just as the effulgent Sun can be seen only through its own light. There is nothing more precious in this world than Divine love. God is Gunaatheetha (beyond all attributes). Hence, His love also is beyond attributes. But, human love governed by Gunas (attributes) results in attachment and aversion. Love should not be based on expectations of reward or return. Love based on such expectations makes it a business deal. Love is not an article of commerce. It is not like a lending a loan and getting it back. It is a spontaneous offering. Pure love of this kind can emanate only from a pure heart.

September 17, 2005

The Prakrithi (Creation) we see around us cannot give us happiness. It is changing from moment to moment. The experiences Prakrithi gives us in the waking state get obliterated in the dream state, and those of the dream stage cease when we wake up from the dream. The dream experiences are our creation. And so also the waking state experiences! What we see is nothing but our own creation. The experience of the world is but a projection of our mind and the reflection of our own inner thoughts. As is the thought, so the vision. The colour of the glasses you wear determines the colour in which things appear to you. If you wear red glasses, everything will appear red. If you wear green glasses, everything will appear green. Pure thoughts make the world appear as pure. If you view things with Prema (love), with a loving heart, the whole creation will appear to you as a reflection of Prema.

September 18, 2005

Mankind has progressed much in exploiting the material resources of the earth in order to promote the standard of life. But, he has not learnt the way to inner peace and contentment. Envy and greed have fouled the relations between persons and nations, suppressing the awareness of the Unity that underlies all Creation. The main cause of this calamitous situation is rank egoism; each one tries to grab for himself whatever adds to his power and comfort. The mind has desires as its warp and woof. When desires are ego-oriented, time and effort are wasted; duty is neglected; the body and its skills are misused. In order to restore peace to the individual and in society, the mind has to be purged of its attachment to the self.

September 19, 2005

Believe firmly that the body is the residence of God, that the food you eat is the offering you make to your deity; that bathing is the ceremonial bathing of the Divine Spirit in you; the ground you walk upon is His domain; the joy you derive is His gift; the grief you experience is His lesson that you tread the path more carefully. Remember Him at all times; many people think of God only when grief overtakes them; of course, it is good to do so; it is better than seeking the help of those who are also equally liable to grief. But, it is infinitely better to think of God in grief and in joy, in peace and strife. The proof of rain is in the wetness of the ground; the proof of Bhakthi (devotion) is in the Shanti (equanimity) the bhaktha (devotee) has, Shanthi which protects him against the onslaughts of success and failure, fame and dishonour, gain and loss.

September 20, 2005

Prema (Love) is what the individual and the nation must cultivate for progress. Love must transform all relationships - social, economic, educational, professional, family, religious and others. The father must love the child a little more intensely, the mother must spread more love, children must respect the servants. The sense of equality and the understanding that everyone is the repository of the divine essence must transmute social and individual behaviour. What the world needs today is the redeeming and unifying force of love - love which continually expands and embraces more and more people. By giving up narrow ideas regarding one's religion, nation or caste, by developing a broad outlook and cultivating the company of the good, you can elevate your 1ife and make it meaningful and satisfying.

September 21, 2005

Prema (Love) is what the individual and the nation must cultivate for progress. Love must transform all relationships - social, economic, educational, professional, family, religious and others. The father must love the child a little more intensely, the mother must spread more love, children must respect the servants. The sense of equality and the understanding that everyone is the repository of the divine essence must transmute social and individual behaviour. What the world needs today is the redeeming and unifying force of love - love which continually expands and embraces more and more people. By giving up narrow ideas regarding one's religion, nation or caste, by developing a broad outlook and cultivating the company of the good, you can elevate your 1ife and make it meaningful and satisfying.

September 22, 2005

The word 'Dharma', which is really bound up with an infinite variety of meanings, is regarded in common usage as referring to actions like charity, performing good deeds, going on pilgrimages and discharging one's duties, etc. But these relate only to external actions. Dharma is eternal, the same for everyone, everywhere. It expresses the significance of the inner Atma. The birth place of Dharma is the heart. What emanates from the heart as a pure idea, when translated into action is Dharma. The true Dharma of every human being is to make every endeavour to realize the Divine; Dharma should lead to Self-realization.

September 23, 2005

Love is the form of the Divine. The first impulse that emanated from man was Prema (Divine love). All other things came thereafter. Every child that is born, immediately develops love for the mother. Every child tries to recognize at the outset its mother and father. In the same manner, every individual should recognise the land of his birth and his Samskrithi (cultural heritage). One's nation and one's culture should be revered as one's parents. The nation is one's mother. One's culture is the father. This profound truth was proclaimed by Lord Rama when He declared: "Mother and the Motherland are greater than Heaven itself".

September 24, 2005

Nature is a great preacher of spiritual truths. Consider, for instance, a tree. It puts up with heat and rain, summer and winter, and all the harm inflicted on it. It offers shade and fruits to whoever approaches it. It has no feelings of hatred or vengeance towards those who cause injuries to it. It seeks no return from those who benefit from it. Everyone should learn this lesson in selfless service and forbearance from the tree. Consider, next, the bird. The lesson it teaches is self-reliance. A bird perched on the twig of a tree is not affected by the wild swaying of the twig or the storm which might blow it off because it relies not on the twig or tree but on its own wings for its safety. It knows it can always fly away and save itself. The bird is always happy and carefree, sporting as it pleases. Birds are not concerned about acquiring things for the morrow. They are content to make the best of the present, living on whatever they can get for the day.

September 25, 2005

There are two forms of Love. One binds you to God. The other binds you to the world. The mind is responsible for either of these states. The mind can be compared to a lock. If you turn the key to the right, the lock opens. If you turn the key to the left, it gets locked. The heart is the key to the lock of the mind. If you turn the key towards the world, you have attachment and bondage; when you turn it towards God, you achieve liberation. That is why, it has been declared that the mind is the cause of human bondage or liberation. When it is filled with wisdom, it makes a man a saint. When it is associated with ignorance, it turns into an agent of death.

September 26, 2005

With faith in the omnipresence of the Divine, man should engage himself in good deeds, cherish good thoughts and dedicate his life to good practices. His words should be words of truth. The ornaments he should wear are the necklace of truthful speech, the earrings of listening to sacred lore and the bracelet of charity. Money is of the nature of manure. Piled up in one place, it pollutes the air. Spread it wide, scatter it over fields, it rewards you with a bumper harvest. So too, when money is spent for promoting good works, it yields contentment and happiness in plenty.

September 27, 2005

Man has in him the capacity to grow into a pure Divine personality. But, due to ignorance and waywardness, he has become stunted. He has chained himself to low ideals and so, he has fallen into fear and grief. The Upanishads exhort man to awaken and become master of himself - "Utthishtta, jaagratha, praapya vaaraan nibodhatha!", (Arise, Awake and stop not until the goal is reached!). Man is overcome by the sleep of ignorance and has forgotten the true values of life. He is obsessed only with material progress. Unless he is awakened to the spiritual values of life, there cannot be any peace and prosperity in the world. Without spiritual basis, even if men have eyes, they are blind; even if they have ears, they are deaf; even if intellectually brilliant they are insane. Spirituality alone confers true vision upon man and makes him complete.

September 28, 2005

Man is enamoured of wealth, spouse and children. These obstruct him at each step and act as handicaps to spiritual advancement. Of course, money is essential for the process of living and labouring for it cannot be avoided. But, beyond a limit, riches foul the mind and breed arrogance. They must be used for good purposes, fostering Dharma (righteousness) and well-being, and fulfilling one's duties along the Divine path. If riches are spent for realizing fleeting desires, they can never be enough and the ego discovers newer and more heinous ways of earning and spending.

September 29, 2005

You wear coloured glasses and see everything through those glasses. Correct your vision; the world will get corrected. Reform yourselves and the world will get reformed. You create the world of your choice. You see many, because you seek the many, not the One. Try to subsume the many in the One - first the family, then the community, the state, the nation and finally the the world. Thus, progressively march on towards more and more inclusive loyalties and reach the stage of universality in thought, word and deed. This is the Sadhana (spiritual endeavour) of Love, for, Love is expansion. The individual has to be Universalised and expanded into Vishwaroopa (the cosmic form of the Divine).

September 30, 2005

Broaden your heart and make it as magnanimous as that of God Himself. If you look at a balloon, at first, it is flat. If you go on blowing air into it, it becomes bigger and bigger, and at one stage it will burst. Though beginning with the ideas of 'I' and 'mine', if you ultimately move on to the stage where you realize that "all are mine", "all are one"; gradually you will become broader in your vision and will merge in God who is omnipresent. You should recognise the truth that man's life consists of making the journey from the stage of 'I' to the stage of 'We'.

Online source: Radio Sai Global